Saturday, May 19, 2012

Texas Guandi Temple

This is one in a series of "Profile" posts in which different local Buddhist groups and Temples will be described so that seekers will understand fully in advance what to expect should they decide to visit.


Texas Guandi Temple is located in EaDo near IH-45, in an area referred to as "Old Chinatown" (which is not to be confused with "Chinatown"). 
Screengrab from Googlemaps.  The address of the facility is alternatively given as a Milby address (above) or as a Gulf Freeway address (see homepage screengrab below). 
Guandi is listed and briefly described in this directory of spiritual centers in EaDo.
Street view screengrabbed from Wikimedia Commons.  It appears to be intended to some degree as multi-cultural, as its sign identifies it in three languages. 
Guandi Temple's current website does not provide any English context or information regarding this facility.
Screengrab of the homepage at in May of 2012.
Segment of the homepage above after running internet translation.
I have been largely unsuccessful in locating third-party descriptions of this Temple and what it potentially offers to English practitioners.  There's this Houston Chronicle article from 2003 which provides a general description of the Temple's development, intent, and a New Year celebration.  There are also scattered photographs of the facility available on Flickr and other sharing sites.
Screengrabbed from
I also found reference Guandi on a commercial tour website:
Screengrab from the Houston Historical Tours commercial website.  No further information was available, but the fact that the Temple is open to commercial tours suggests that it is fairly accessible and informal.
I contacted a Chinese friend to get a "feel" for this facility, and she described it as "more like a worshipping place" than a Temple.  She noted that the figure for whom the Temple is named is a military figure from Chinese folklore.  Wikipedia reveals that Guan Yu (also called Guan Di) "is a figure in Chinese folk religion, popular Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism, and small shrines to Guan are almost ubiquitous in traditional Chinese shops and restaurants".   In Chinese Buddhism, Guandi is worshipped as Sangharama Bodhisattva.   A bodhisattva is defined as an enlightened person who wishes for all sentient beings to attain Buddhahood.

As always, if you have additional information about this Temple, please contact me via southhoustonsangha - at -  It would be useful if I could post details about what (if any) programs this facility offers in English. 

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